Dylan Thayer, Esq.

Dylan Thayer serves as a Senior litigator after joining the firm in 2023. Dylan is a
2019 graduate of Vanderbilt Law School, receiving his Juris Doctor, and, previously,
his Bachelor of Arts from Hamilton College in 2013. Dylan is admitted in the state of
New York and the District of Columbia.

While at Vanderbilt, Dylan excelled in litigation and trial advocacy, most notably
during his tenure as President of the Mock Trial Board. He has brought that tenacity
full force to the firm. In March 2024, Dylan represented a Navy Commander in the
United States District Court in DC bringing a sanctions motion against the Navy for
destroying evidence.

Dylan has also been the primary in a Third Circuit Court of Appeals case, has
conducted multiple contested evidentiary hearings and was instrumental in getting the
Navy Discharge Review Board to resume in person hearings before the Board.

Dylan and his wife live in Washington, DC.


Melissa Diaz, Esq.

Melissa Diaz graduated with her Juris Doctorate from Vanderbilt University Law School and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida. She is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and joined the Law Offices of David P. Sheldon in 2022.

Melissa supports clients in a variety of cases that include administrative and federal court litigation. She specializes in United States Public Health Services and Commissioned Officer cases where professional health service officers require support in a variety of legal actions.

Melissa has experience in criminal prosecutions related to drug offenses, domestic violence, and homicide. She is also experienced in National Security Law, International Humanitarian Law, and Counterterrorism. While working for the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Counterterrorism she helped to reform counterterrorism laws, legislative frameworks, and legal procedures to establish compliance with best practices in internationally accepted human rights standards.

Melissa has an unwavering drive to aid clients that comes from her childhood in Colombia, during the longest-standing civil war in the Western Hemisphere.  She is passionate about paying forward the opportunities she was given to succeed such as by diligently advocating for her clients and also for students seeking success in higher education. She was the Founder and President of Kickstart U2 College, a not-for-profit corporation that helps students obtain access to higher education, via admission to college or technical schools, and provided the resources for success after admission.

She is fluent in English and Spanish.



David P. Sheldon, Esq.

David Sheldon began his over 25-year career as a military defense lawyer in the U.S. Navy. In four years of naval service, he built a distinguished record representing officers and enlisted members before the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Military Review, the Court of Military Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mr. Sheldon launched his civilian career in 1994, earning a national reputation as an expert in military defense. Today, he frequently provides comments and analysis on high-profile military cases for CNN, NBC, CBS, and ABC television news and National Public Radio. Mr. Sheldon represents members of every branch of the armed services and the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service.

As the lead military defense lawyer in numerous high-profile cases, he has successfully defended soldiers, sailors, and airmen of every rank and stature. While some of the more highly publicized cases are a matter of record, far more have been won without highly visible media coverage. Mr. Sheldon takes great pride in that fact; often clients are best served by avoiding the glare of the media.

Areas of Practice

  • Military Law
  • Military Defense
  • Courts-Martial
  • Administrative Discharge Reviews
  • Corrections of Military Records
  • Security Clearances
  • Medical Malpractice at Military Facilities


  • University of Montana School of Law, Missoula, Montana
    • Juris Doctor – 1990
    • Law Review: University of Montana, Co-Editor
  • University of Montana, Montana
    • Bachelor of Arts – 1987

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • National Institute of Military Justice, Board of Advisors
  • American Association for Justice
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Judge Advocates Association

Past Employment Positions

  • U.S. Navy, 1991 – 1994
  • Feldesman, Tucker, Leifer, Fidell and Bank LLP, 1994 – 2001

Back to Team